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Warrior sticksters excel in Jody Johnston Field Hockey Classic

The six games in the Second Annual Jody Johnston Field Hockey Classic that took place August 28 at Vista High School included one between University City High School and Fallbrook High School, which saw the Warriors dominate the Centurions.

“It was a good start for the team to play together,” said Fallbrook coach Kathy Waite. “The team executed well.”

The CIF San Diego Section initiated pre-season tournaments in various sports to raise money for travel expenses of San Diego Section teams which participate in state or regional tournaments. Last year field hockey joined the sports with pre-season tournaments while the CIF honored long-time El Cajon Valley High School field hockey coach Jody Johnston by naming the tournament after her. The pre-season tournaments do not count towards a team’s maximum number of permissible scrimmages.

Field hockey has two playoff divisions, and the Jody Johnston Field Hockey Classic pits a Division I school against a Division II school. Last year Fallbrook faced Scripps Ranch, which had won the 2008 CIF Division II championship. The Falcons scored the game’s only goal with less than two minutes remaining, and both Fallbrook and Scripps Ranch would end the 2009 season in the CIF championship match before San Pasqual won the Division I championship at the Warriors’ expense and Serra defeated Scripps Ranch in the Division II finals.

University City proved to be a less formidable opponent than Scripps Ranch. The Warriors scored nine of the game’s 10 goals.

“It was not reflective of what I had expected,” Waite said.

Sportsmanship called for Waite to bench her starters after a sufficient lead, although Fallbrook’s 18-player roster meant that some of the 11 players on the field at any given time were starters.

“I played everyone in every position including Jahna (goalie Jahna Jordan) in the field,” Waite said. “By putting them at all of the positions, it allowed me to play everybody a lot.”

That allowed Waite to provide her reserves with considerable playing time. “I’ve got some kids who need to improve, but they know it,” she said.

The Centurions’ only goal was on a corner shot after Waite had pulled as many starters as possible. After Fallbrook’s first five goals, Waite had the Warriors focus on possession rather than on trying to score. “Without even meaning to, they put it

in,” she said.

Fallbrook’s 2009 team included five seniors, three of whom earned all-league honors. Five of last year’s all-league players will return to the Warriors for action this year. Waite’s starting roster consists of seven seniors and four juniors, and the varsity roster includes a total of ten seniors. “I’ve got a good group, a very good group, coming in,” she said.

Waite’s annual goal is to have two sophomores on the varsity, but this year no sophomores were able to displace juniors or seniors from a varsity spot. “It’s really weird,” Waite said of not having a sophomore on this year’s varsity squad.

The Warriors open their regular season at home September 7 against Poway.

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